Over the last few years, we've seen time after time after time when local news reporters would put up an article about this big scary fear called "war driving." Of course, in almost every one of those cases, the reports are overblown or get the facts wrong. You would think, after so many of those over the years that enough people would be clued in not to write another one. No such luck. Broadband Reports points us to an article a local news report in Utah, whipping up fear about the evils of those crazy war drivers. Unfortunately, this article is again a bit short on the facts. While it's true that people can get on your network, the amount of damage they can do really depends on how you have your system set up and what you do online. The article, of course, claims that anyone who gets on your network can see everything you do, including getting access to account numbers and passwords. That would be true if you used sites that didn't encrypt that information -- but those are pretty difficult to find these days (and sites that don't encrypt, probably aren't very important). The article then pulls out the favorite line about how those war drivers might be surfing child porn on your network and "there's no way to prove it wasn't you." While there is some debate over liability if someone else does something illegal on your network, it would seem that there's a pretty damn good way to prove it wasn't you: you won't have any child porn on your computers. Considering it's a criminal charge, it would be up to the FBI to prove that you did it -- and without any additional evidence, combined with an open WiFi network, it's hard to see how they would have the evidence to support such an accusation, because it wouldn't be true. That doesn't mean you shouldn't understand the security implications of using WiFi. Securing your network usually does make sense. However, fear mongering reports that get the facts wrong don't do anyone any good.
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